An increase in coronavirus cases is expected in the autumn, and on top of that the flu season is about to start. Health Minister Jens Spahn and head of the Robert Koch Institute Lothar Wieler this time appeared at a Wednesday press conference with the chairman of the Standing Committee on Vaccination.
Thomas Mertens warned that people classified as high-risk groups in Germany are insufficiently protected against influenza. Although some improvement in this regard was noticeable in the previous flu season, the vaccination rate against the disease among people over the age of 60 was unfortunately only 30-40 percent, Mertens said. “That’s really not enough.” There were relatively few cases last season, so now there could be a stronger flu wave. Flu vaccination is recommended not only for the elderly, but also for the chronically ill, pregnant women, medical personnel, caregivers and people who have a lot of contact with other people at work.
Mertens: Wide selection of flu vaccines
Mertens emphasized that there are many types of flu vaccines available on the market. Some can be administered at the same time as the coronavirus vaccine, in which case an injection is given in both the left and right arm. As with COVID-19, the goal is to avoid hospitalizations and deaths due to illness.
“Vaccinations are not limited to COVID-19,” he stressed. All other vaccinations, such as flu shots and those from the childhood immunization program, should also be done.
IRK chief Wieler expects an increase in coronavirus infections
Also Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) and IRK President Lothar Wieler urged citizens to get vaccinated against both coronavirus and influenza. “A double vaccination also provides double protection,” Spahn said. He added that if Germans want to avoid overloading the health care system in the winter due to a double wave of infections, they should get vaccinated. Spahn said that the federal government has already ordered 27 million doses of flu vaccines. This time, those doses will be available as early as October and November.
IRK chief Wieler said that an increase in the number of coronavirus cases should be expected during the winter period. This will mainly affect unvaccinated people. However, Spahn is pinning his hopes on the success of the vaccination campaign. “Almost four out of five adults are vaccinated,” he said.
The Robert Koch Institute (IRK) reported Wednesday that the incidence rate of COVID-19 in Germany is now 62.3 – that’s how many people per 100,000 inhabitants contracted the coronavirus in a week. The number of confirmed cases of SARS-CoV-2 infections rose by 11,547 to 4.27 million. The number of deaths increased by 76 to 93,959.